20 May 2013
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry Officially Open the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres
Addressing a gathering which included volunteers, H4H staff, supporters and over 100 injured men and women, the Duke said:
"Those journeys of recovery will be cut short, unforgivably, if we as a nation unfix our attention. We must not let the wounded men and women of our Armed Forces down. This official opening is therefore, I hope, as much a renewed pledge by all of us to go on supporting those who have sacrificed so much, as it is a celebration of an amazing achievement."
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry were at Tedworth House to officially open all four of the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres nationwide: Tidworth, Catterick, Colchester and Plymouth.
Their Royal Highnesses met members of the wounded community and their families and heard first-hand about the life-long challenges they face. William was presented with a 'My Daddy is a Hero' baby outfit by two year Jenson, the son of triple amputee Cpl Josh Boggi, a resident at Tedworth House. Josh asked the Duke if he was looking forward to becoming a father, "very much so", replied William. Later, the two brothers were presented with customised Help for Heroes hoodies with William also taking one for the Duchess of Cambridge.
Prince Harry was then reunited with members of the Warrior Games team who he championed during his recent state tour of the USA. He heard how the 30-strong team, all of whom were either funded or supported by Help for Heroes, had won in excess of 20 medals competing against athletes from the US military.
Their Royal Highnesses were also shown the first class facilities in the Phoenix Centre where Prince Harry got involved in an impromptu game of basketball.
During the speeches Bryn Parry, Co-Founder of H4H, thanked their Royal Highnesses for their support of the charity and lifelong commitment to the care of our wounded. As the excited crowd clapped Prince Harry and the Duke of Cambridge waved off Staff Sergeant Steve Arnold, Corporal Claire Edwards and Corporal Charlie Lemon, a US Veteran, all on hand bikes, as they rode away launching the 2013 Hero Ride.
The Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry Open H4H Recovery Centres, Monday May 20th 2013
On Monday, Their Royal Highnesses, The Duke of Cambridge (Prince William to most of us) and Prince Harry will join us at Tedworth House to help celebrate the opening of the H4H led Recovery Centres. We are greatly looking forward to a happy day when they will meet many of the wounded and their families, our charitable and corporate partners and some selected fundraisers.
We would have loved it if we could have invited you as well but with help from BFBS, we plan to show selected parts of the visit by the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry via live streaming here. Log on to our site on the morning of Monday 20th May for a front-row view!
While we are celebrating this historic moment when we declare our Centres at Tidworth, Catterick, Colchester and Plymouth officially open, we are also thanking all of you who have done so much to make this a reality.
The building blocks are now in place but the hard work begins. For those who have been injured on our behalf, there will be no peace. Thank you all so much for everything you have done to date and please, for their sake, keep it coming!
17 May 2013
Virgin Active shows support for Help for Heroes and Hero Ride
Help for Heroes is delighted to announce their partnership with Virgin Active in support of the charity’s latest fundraising challenge: Hero Ride.
Between 27 May and 02 June, Virgin Active health clubs across the country will be offering the opportunity for members to get involved in their local club’s Hero Ride activity, such as group static cycle or boot camp, with all funds raised being donated to Help for Heroes.
On 02 June, the main Hero Ride event will see cyclists from all corners of the country stage fundraising bike rides and meet on mass in Blackheath and ride together into central London in support of our wounded.
Led by hundreds of wounded veterans and service personnel from the UK and USA, Hero Ride will be the biggest cycling demonstration of national support for the wounded this country has ever seen with over 1,300 cyclists brushing off their bikes to be part of this very special event.
All funds raised through Hero Ride and Virgin Active will provide support for those who have suffered and survived injuries in recent conflicts and for their families, for life.
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Active Health Clubs, said: “Help for Heroes is a fantastic charity and it is our pleasure to get involved and help to drum up support, participation and ultimately raise money for our troops. I would encourage anyone to come along to their nearest Virgin Active club and get signed up for this event, it doesn’t matter about your level of fitness – it’s about getting involved and showing your support.
“Best of luck to all participating in Hero Ride and the Virgin Active events and classes across the country from myself and all at Virgin Group.”
Bryn Parry OBE, CEO and co-founder of Help for Heroes, said: “We are delighted to be working with Virgin Active to ensure that Hero Ride allows as many people as possible to get involved in what will be a fantastic day.
“We have no doubt that Virgin Active will do a great job in drumming up support for Hero Ride and we hope that our work with them will continue to the future.
“The money raised is greatly needed to enable us to provide long term support for those who have suffered life-changing injuries. The war in Afghanistan may be coming to an end but for those whose lives have changed as a result of their service to this country, the battle is only just beginning. On behalf of everyone at Help for Heroes and all those who the funds raised will benefit, thank you and best of luck for your Virgin Active events.”
Help for Heroes are encouraging supporters to line The Mall from 13:00 on Sunday 02 June to celebrate the event and the achievements of those involved.
Statement in relation to BBC Newsnight broadcast on 9 August 2012
Help for Heroes welcomes the BBC’s apology for broadcasting a report which gave the completely false impression that we do not support veterans and the equally inaccurate claim that we are failing to provide the very best care to those wounded while serving our country.
We were happy to invite Angus Stickler of the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (BIJ) and BBC Newsnight to see one of our four Recovery Centres, do interviews and speak to the family of one of the thousands of wounded servicemen we have helped since we started out in 2007. Sadly interviews were edited in such a way it made it look as if people who actively support Help for Heroes were in fact critical of our work.
Broad and completely understandable concerns about the long-term care needs of the wounded were falsely and unfairly reported as criticisms of the charity. This was a total misrepresentation of the facts, given that Help for Heroes has raised and immediately spent or allocated well over £150million to looking after wounded Servicemen, women, veterans and their families in the last 6 years.
Help for Heroes Co-Founders Bryn and Emma Parry said:
“Help for Heroes was born of a simple desire to help the wounded. Along with our supporters, staff and the incredibly generous British public, we do our very best to make their lives better.
The Newsnight report was a complete shock to us, but an even bigger shock to the men and women we’re helping to recover.
On the day the programme went out we were inundated with offers of support from the wounded themselves who were keen to set the record straight. The BIJ should now apologise to each of them, their families and to all those who give up their time to volunteer and fundraise in support of our work.
We are grateful the BBC has admitted it got the story completely wrong and has finally apologised. We are pleased the BBC has taken this matte seriously, and issued what we believe to be one of their biggest apologies in the last 4 years. We now consider the matter closed and look forward to working with the BBC in the future.”
Apology to be read by BBC continuity announcer on BBC 2 at 11:20pm, 16 May 2013.
(Please note: a shorter version will be read on Radio 1 at 5:45pm and on Radio 2 at 5:00pm)
And now, an apology. On 9 August last year, Newsnight included a report on provisions for seriously injured British troops in which the charity Help for Heroes featured prominently. The story was taken up by a number of BBC news programmes during that day, and reported on the BBC website. Following an investigation by its Editorial Complaints Unit, the BBC now accepts that its coverage was misleading and unfair to Help for Heroes.
The BBC gave the impression that Help for Heroes was responsible for shortcomings in the provision of support to wounded veterans. The Editorial Complaints Unit found no evidence to support this suggestion. Although it was legitimate to report the concerns of veterans, the BBC portrayed criticisms about overall support by a number of agencies as specific criticisms of Help for Heroes.
This unfair impression was reinforced by our coverage of the story in other outlets.
In addition, the Newsnight report contained interviews with two contributors which were edited in a way which misrepresented their views.
Although a representative of Help for Heroes took part in a studio discussion which followed the Newsnight report, the response of Help for Heroes to the criticisms wasn’t properly reflected. This contributed further to the unfair impression of Help for Heroes, for which the BBC wishes to apologise.
Warrior Games Blog
Help for Heroes is funding a UK team to take part in the US Warrior Games – a Paralympic sporting event for wounded, injured and sick service personnel & veterans.
We’ll be following their progress with daily blog posts from our Comms Manager, Jess Baker.
16th May 2013
9 more makes 20
Today is the last day of the Games and we had the majority of the team competing in the pool. Everyone had at least two races and most made it through to the final heats for medals.
First up it was the Men’s 50m Freestyle, double amputee class which saw Charlie Walker and David Henson compete. After a really close race, Charlie took the gold and Dave got silver. The crowd went wild!
After an amazing start, the medals just kept coming! Jon (Frenchie) Le Galloudec secured bronze in the 50m then again in the 100m.
Charlie and Dave smashed it again in the 100m Freestyle and won silver and bronze respectively. Luke Reeson put in a really good effort and was so close to getting the bronze in his category for 50m Freestyle. He was the only one in his race that had a physical injury so he should feel really proud of himself.
Luke Darlington was really close to getting 4th in his race and Joe and Mary both knocked seconds of their personal bests. It’s great to see everyone so buzzing from their achievements.
Stacey helped bring up the total for Team GB by securing a bronze and smashing the backstroke to get silver as did Frenchie who brought us home two bronze medals.
Some of the loudest cheering came when Spider, the only triple amputee in the competition who was taking part in the men’s 50 & 100m races, took to the pool. Due to there being no direct classification for triple amputees, Spider had to choose whether to compete in the double arm amputee class or double leg amputee class. Selecting the double leg amputee class meant he competed against those with both of their arms.
A total of nine additional medals today take us to a total of a staggering 20 medals!!
It has been a totally inspiring and incredible week. It’s been an absolute honour to be a part of it and watch as people achieve above and beyond their expectations. It goes to show how important events like this are for those who are overcoming injury and illness. It has been such a privilege to be a part of this phenomenal event.
Bring on 2014 and the UK Warrior Games!!
15th May 2013
Volleyball team victorious
This morning the archers were up and out early for their competition at the Air Force Academy. They all did really well with every individual securing a personal best. Darren ‘Kam’ got a score of 495, then Liam secured 438 and Stacey 364. They all played in the Compound class.
Claire & Karl were competing with the Recurve bow and secured 209 and 173 respectively.
Next up it was the team competition which Kam, Liam and Stacey were all competing in. Each individual gets 2 arrows each and they have a limited time at which to fire all their shots to get the highest score. It started well with Kam getting a bulls eye early on. Against the Navy first we beat them and were through to the next round, playing for bronze medal. Unfortunately they just crept ahead of us and we lost out on bronze but still came 4th – an brilliant achievement for the team involved who have only since the start of the games been learning how to shoot.
We found a great spot in the pump room where we were able to look into the pool under water so got some great shots of the team underwater.
This evening we were back to the volleyball courts for the bronze play-off game against the Navy. The Air Force, who we played and beat last night, became British for the night and came out with Union Jack Flags on their tops to support us.
GB won first the first set, then the Navy got the second one. It was down to the last game again with just one point in it which made it another nerve wracking experience for the supporters, let alone the players.
The last few minutes were so close, 9-10, 10-10 each, 11-10 to GB and Luke was immense. Then it was 14-14 (the rules are that the last game you have to get to 15 but win by two clear points). Soon it was 14-14. The Navy got the next point to make it 14-15. Al was up serving and Liam managed to save the point with a spectacular foot kick and we won the point! We thought it was all over but on the last game you need two clear points. We got another then another then it was one more point to go! Charlie called time out, the players moved off the court for a couple of minutes for a final team talk. The supporters were going crazy in the stands. Back on the pitch it was Corie up to serve, ‘C’mon Corie’ screaming from the crowd. He served and we did it. We won and secured another bronze medal!!
Such an incredible match, everyone was buzzing and we all ran onto the pitch to congratulate the team.
Tonight we gathered back at the hotel for a celebratory beer. So far, we have almost doubled the number of medals from last year but this time we have been able to knock the Americans off the top spots on their own soil (last time we could only ‘guest’ medal). There’s been so many personal bests and it’s so wonderful to hear the number of people who want to continue with the sports they have been competing in. This truly will be a legacy Warrior Games, especially if we can support a UK Warrior Games next year.
Back at the hotel, after a speech by Martin congratulating everyone today, he also announced that after some confusion on the field yesterday, we had one more medal to award. A bronze in the discus to Erica!! Simi also was so close to medalling. Yesterday has been renamed as 10 medal Tuesday!
Tomorrow we have our last competition to bring home as many medals as we can in Swimming. We’ve got a lot of the athletes taking part, at least half of them.
Can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings. Also can’t believe we’re nearly at the end of the Games. It’s been such an inspirational week and I know the team tomorrow are going to do us proud again.
14th May 2013
THE MEDALS JUST KEPT COMING:
9 FOR TEAM GB
Today was the turn of the track and field athletes at the Air Force Academy. It was an early start, the bus was quite quiet this morning with people concentrating listening to the 60s music that was playing out on the radio.
It was a morning of medal opportunities for the team and boy did we live up to it. Mickey smashed the 100m sprint heat to kick start us, Corie gave a phenomenal performance in the men’s 100m and Kushal won his heat. Unfortunately Nevs, who started so well, pulled his hamstring about 20m before they end so that was him out for the rest of the games. A real shame as we had high hopes for him, despite this being his first race.
Dave Henson bought home our first medal of the games – silver in the 1500m!!
The other athlete in the 1500m race saw Simo taking part in his first competition, he said to me he wanted to know by the finish line he had absolutely nothing left to give. He did just that, exhausted and hardly able to stand after he finished, he collapsed on Martin and Scott for support. It was also wonderful to see Dave then congratulate him after the race.
Sam, Erica, Al and Simi all did really well on the field with Sam securing 4th in the standing open discus which is a new sport for her and 4th in shot put too. An incredible effort.
In the sitting discus and shot, it was Erica and Simi's time to shine. Both threw well with Erica getting the highest so far and Simi very close behind throwing over 14m. Personal bests all around.
Back on the track and the weather was really starting to come in, so much so we were warned that if we heard the siren then we should move into the indoor sports hall for safety for fear of a tornado. The organisers decided to bring the final few races closer together so that they could get through them before the weather really set in.
First up it was 200m in which Dave got his second silver, then gold from Kushal in the 100m final before Matt took silver in the 200m.
And they just kept coming. The team secured a fantastic total of three gold, four silver and two bronze medals today.
We were moved up to another venue for the medal presentations whilst the weather passed over then it was back onto the track for the special 4x100m relay race with Kushal, Dave, Corie and Spider. Three of these men are double amputees and Spider is a triple; between the four of them they have just seven limbs.
It started well, there were a couple of falls from the guys but the aim of the race was about finishing and showing the determination they have to succeed no matter what. As Corie passed to Spider there was a tumble but Corie helped pick Spider up and they ran in the last 100m together. The crowd were going crazy for him, the support crew screaming with every ounce of their voice and he brought it home.
The first ever all double amputee relay team. So inspirational and so, so, proud.
What an incredible day, everyone’s feeling exhausted tonight from sheer elation and from putting everything into winning today.
This evening was volleyball again and we played the final team in our heats, the US Air Force. The rest of the athletes watching the team got face/body paint and drums to keep morale up after a tiring afternoon as this was such a critical game and the team needed to win tonight.
First set we won. Second set to the Air Force. Back to a tie breaker to win the game – and that we did and made it into the semi-finals and were second in the table.
During the next game the first set was won by the Army and the second set was extremely close with just one point separating us the whole way through. It was 24-22 to the Army in the dying seconds, one more point got us to 23-24 then the US Army got the final point. So close.
The Volleyball team did so well, at least five of them had been competing on the track all day so the fact that they still played their hearts out is testament to their mental strength. Now we have our final match tomorrow competing for the bronze medal.
The archers are also out in force tomorrow competing. Stay tuned on twitter to see how they get on…
Good night for now.
13th May 2013
ACHIEVEMENTS ALL AROUND AND TWO WINS FOR GB!
First up this morning the team had a shooting competition at the Olympic Training Centre. It was the first competition for many.
The shooting team did really well - everyone was pleased with how they performed and really enjoyed the experience. We were so close to a bronze medal with Erica missing out by just 0.8 of a point. Overall the majority of the UK team were above average which is a huge achievement and something they should be really proud of.
Talking at breakfast, it was wonderful to hear how the games are bringing individuals together. For example, Claire Edwards, who took part in the cycling yesterday, was coached by Charlie Walker (part of the GB squad) for sitting volleyball and Claire has been able to teach Charlie to dive. It’s so touching to see individuals not only winning medals and competing in sports that they haven't tried before, but looking out for on another.
The next big competition for us this afternoon was the next round of the sitting volleyball heats which we knew were going to be difficult. We has to take on the US Army first. They won the first set. The second set was extremely close but we managed to win it, taking us to a tie break. We led the final set from the off and a foul serve by the Americans gave us the set. Everyone screamed and piled into the pitch hugging, support crew and athletes alike. It was the best feeling ever!!
Our second game was against the US Navy. Morale was high and the team were really up for it. We chose to sing our own national anthem led by the volleyball team. It echoed out on the court, with the final line being passionately shouted!
The first set went to the Navy but it was good effort from the GB team. A couple of decisions seemed ever so slightly in the Navy's favour, but we won't say any more about that!
As the second set started, there was just one point in it but our determination kicked in and we won by an impressive nine points, 25-16.
Tiebreak time again...
We started off well, the rest of the team were chanting, clapping and screaming in the crowds and it paid off, we won the last set. Second game against the Navy won!
The team did Great Britain proud tonight and it was so good to see their fellow athletes supporting them.
In the crowd supporting the team was Major General Buster Howes, the most senior British Officer on US soil (who also got a hug from athlete Ben Wagon!) who left the team with these parting words: “I have seen the team grow in confidence year on year, seen people pick their lives up from most extraordinary situations and achieve greatness.”
“You have one life and this is what it feels like to live it. Good luck and God speed.”
Before we left, the team were asked by one of the US Navy to sing happy birthday to his daughter which the team dutifully obliged…here it is for your enjoyment.
Tomorrow we're at the track where we have shot, discus, 100m, 200m & 1500m taking place, as well as a very special relay race which is going to be spectacular. Watch this space…
12th May 2013
This morning the track and field team trained at the Air Force Academy whilst the swimmers went off to the pool. Today was the first competition, cycling, and the rest of the team wanted to make sure that they were there to cheer on the cyclists so we made sure we were at the cyling event in time.
First up was Jon 'Frenchie' Le Galloudec on a handcyle then Claire on a recumbent bike. Prince Harry was there again today to see the first people off which included Frenchie in the first race which kick started the proceedings. Frenchie joked with Harry about having a go on a handbike but don’t think he was too keen to be shown up.(You can read Frenchie's story here)
Claire was next up and gave a fantastic effort, coming third within the recumbent bikes and fourth overall in her class.
Final race of the day was the upright cyclists with Rab, Ed and Luke all racing. They got off to a great start with Rab (who finished 6th overall) and Ed staying with the front peloton (or pelican as Nevs called it – who is not cycling!). For Ed and Luke it was their first race today and they both did really well and feeling rightly pleased with themselves with Ed finishing 11th/22 and Luke 9th/14.
The rest of the team cheered the cyclists on from the sidelines, there was a fantastic atmosphere with everyone screaming encouragement when one of the UK team went past as well as the wider crowd who had gathered for the event.
Tonight saw the first two sitting volleyball matches for the UK team against the US Marine Corps and SOCOM (Special Operations Command). We all turned up with lots of Help for Heroes Great Britain items to cheer the team on with. It started well and was a close call, the closest thing you’ve seen, but unfortunately we lost the first game.
The second game against SOCOM started with a bit more friendly banter, especially where a few of the team had played against each other last year. The first set went well and we won – cheering all around, quick break then back into round two. We started well, scoring the first point but wasn’t long until they were catching our tail. The team held strong but they couldn’t keep SOCOM from winning that round. The final set, we started strong again but SOCOM managed to get ahead of us and won. 3-1 meant they beat us.
The team are gutted to have lost their first two matches, but its key we keep our chins up and look ahead to the next competition. Tomorrow morning we’re up early doors for the shooting which Matt (Spider), Simo, Erica, Vicey, Carl will all be taking part in.
Bit subdued tonight but I am sure that the mentality of the team means they will mull it over during the night and come back fighting tomorrow.
Until then… Jess
11th May 2013
MEETING PRINCE HARRY
We started this morning at the Olympic Training Centre where the team got the opportunity to meet Prince Harry. He spent a long time speaking to each of the UK competitors, finding out which sports they were competing in and why they were at the Warrior Games.
The team were very popular with the media with the likes of Sky News, BBC, Seven Network, ITV, Radio 5 Live and CNN all wanting to hear from the UK team.
After the meet and greet, it was time for the Opening Ceremony which saw each team parade in front of the gathered crowd. The UK was the last ones in the arena and they certainly got the biggest cheer as they entered. Captain Dave Henson of the team carried the torch on behalf of the Brits and was accompanied by Prince Harry.
As the anthems played out, I had a lump in my throat and it was a good job I had big sunglasses on as there may have been a few tears in my eyes! I am already very proud of the team and what they have accomplished to even get to this stage, let alone knowing what they’re going to go on to do over the next week. By lunchtime the flame was lit and the Games had begun.
After a very heartfelt thank you to the UK team and a huge round of applause from the US athletes, we completed a few more press interviews and we were back in the sports hall waiting for the much anticipated sitting volleyball game.
Prior to the match, we were treated to a wonderful display from the US Marine Corps Silent Drill team who put on an incredible show – there were many an open mouth as we watched in awe of the precision of the movements.
Then it was time for the big match of the day – the exhibition sitting volleyball game with Prince Harry, who was our honorary captain for the game. It started well for the UK with us winning the first set. The US bought it back on the second round then Prince Harry got his hands dirty and joined the team on the pitch. He was very good and even helped get us a few points. In the final set, it was tense even for a so called ‘friendly’ game but the Brits bought it home and we finished the last game 15-11. We won! The place erupted with cheering and the UK team celebrated by piling in on top of each other, including Prince Harry.
Harry's call to bring the Warrior Games to the UK is one that Help for Heroes fully supports. Co-Founders Bryn and Emma Parry, who accompanied me today said: "We think a UK Warrior Games would be an excellent way to bring the Nation's attention to the remarkable achievements of so many of our wounded, and we would be delighted to help turn this fabulous idea into a huge success." So all that's left to say is, watch this space...
Bring on the Games!
10th May 2013
The Penultimate Day
After some late night bar antics last night from the Royal Marine lads (!), today was an opportunity for the team to get in some additional practice but also to do any last minute shopping before the Games start tomorrow as after that, it will be non-stop until we go home on 17th May.
This morning saw Nevs smash up the sprinting on the track, it’s one of the first times he has sprinted but was really impressive. Our photographer, who also used to be a sprint coach, which has become quite handy, was giving him tips on starting positions as well as giving the relay team a bit of a coaching session.
After the morning practices (track, field, archery and swimming) the team had a bit of downtime to get any additional equipment or supplies they needed for the week ahead. Luke had to replace his swimming shorts following an unfortunate splitting incident earlier in the week – we’re not sure that he made the appropriate choice of replacement swimwear however…
Following registration, where the team were given their passes and a goody bag of Warrior Games stuff, it was off to the athlete’s reception which was put on by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) and Deloitte. It was a chance to eye up the competition as well as, for some of the athletes who attended last year, catch up with fellow competitors.
We left the reception at around 2100 then it was back to the hotels for a good night’s sleep before the big day tomorrow - a meet and greet with Prince Harry, the opening ceremony and the exhibition volleyball game.
Everyone seems a little on the subdued side today, I think in anticipation of tomorrow and what the rest of the games will bring. Now it gets serious…
But there is also an air of excitement (and perhaps a little hysteria based on the journey home with newly nicknamed ‘stand-up comedian’ Ben Waggon who kept us all entertained) and I personally, can’t wait to see what we can do!
Don’t forget to show your support during the games by following the team’s progress on social media using #warriorgames & #ukheroes
The Opening Ceremony will also be streamed live at http://www.dvidshub.net/webcast/3011 at 2145 tomorrow.
Stay tuned tomorrow…
9th May 2013
Acclimitisation and Camaraderie
Early start this morning, kicked off by a hearty breakfast before the morning briefing from Martin and Jayne about plans for the day.
The team were split for the morning session with around 10 of the athletes heading to the Air Force Academy where they could train for the track and field events, five went off to train on the bikes and the remainder were at swimming practice.
Down at the track we watched as one of the athletes, a double above knee amputee, completed his first ever 1500m since he was injured.
Simi and Erica were both practising the discus and shot put on the field at the same time as Dave, Kushal, Corie & Matt were practicing for the 400m relay, looking very quick out on the track with not a leg between them!
It’s amazing how much the altitude takes it out of the team - the Air Force Academy is over 7,000ft above sea level so this acclimitisation period is absolutely essential.
This year the UK team will compete against the US in the medal tables, last year they were placed as ‘guests’ but this time around we can really challenge them and knock them off those top spots.
At lunchtime we were invited to see the American Air Force Cadets parade before enjoying a meal with them. As we walked in to their lunch hall where all 4,000 Cadets were seated, they all stood up, clapped, cheered and whooped at our athletes. It was, as one athlete Stacey said, ‘overwhelming’ and truly humbling.
This afternoon some of the team headed to the Olympic Training Centre to get their last sitting volleyball session in before a very special game they will play with Prince Harry on Saturday against the US. It’s known as an ‘exhibition’ game but the team are taking it very seriously - it’s a chance for us to lay our stake in the ground before the games commence.
Tonight the entire team we were very kindly invited by Dick Koons, the owner of the Colorado Mountain Brewer for dinner at his FABULOUS restaurant.
I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours chatting with one of the athletes when we got back to the hotel, who said these words which stuck in my mind and I’d like to leave you with, “sometimes the pain makes you remember what you’ve lost but the pain can also remind you what you’ve gained.”
8th May 2013
The Warriors Arrive
The UK team have now all arrived safely in Colorado Springs, with the remaining seven athletes arriving today - veteran Mary Wilson, Marines Louis ('Nevs'), Joe & Matt, Ben from the Royal Navy and James (Simo) from the Army.
The team, who will be cheered on by Prince Harry at the weekend, have a couple more days of training and acclimatisation before the Warrior Games begin on Saturday 11th May.
The 2013 Warrior Games are expected to be bigger and better this year. We’ve heard the Americans have been training hard but we have a great bunch of people who are up for the challenge – let the battles commence!
Your donations have allowed this 30 strong team, made up of wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans from all over the UK, to take part in the Warrior Games.
Sport is a key part of the recovery process and the Games provide an opportunity for the athletes to take part in something they might not have ever had the opportunity to do. Occasions like this are great at encouraging confidence as well as the physical benefits you would expect from a sporting event.
We’d like to say a massive thank you before we start to our supporters, Fisher House Foundation who have helped fund the team’s flights through their Hero Miles scheme and Under Armour who have provided the team’s kit for a heavily discounted rate.
You can follow the team’s progress here as well as through the Help for Heroes social media channels – Facebook & Twitter (@helpforheroes) using #ukheroes & #warriorgames we’d love to hear your messages of support!
Until tomorrow – good night!
1st May 2013
British Armed Forces Depart UK for Warrior Games
A team of British wounded service personnel and veterans, supported by H4H today departed the UK for Colorado Springs where they will compete in the US Paralympic Warrior Games.
The Warrior Games, which will be visited by Prince Harry, is a competitive Paralympic sporting event for wounded,injured and sickService personnel and veterans, hosted by the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and presented by Deloitte.
This will be the second year that we have organised and funded this international sporting opportunity. The squad of 35 UK athletes, who have all been through the life-changing Battle Back programme, will be taking part in friendly competitions against U.S. Service members and veterans at the event which will run from May 11th-16th 2013 in Colorado Springs, USA.
Martin Colclough, Head of Physical Recovery, Help for Heroes said: “We are delighted to once again fund a UK team in such a high profile U.S. event and are looking forward to watching our athletes build on the tremendous successes from last year. Having supported athletes at both a grass-roots and Paralympic level, we know how important physical activity is for encouraging confidence and independence after a life-changing injury or illness.”
The 2013 Games will see approximately 260 US wounded and injured Servicemen and women and veterans competing in seven sports, including; archery, cycling, shooting, swimming, track & field, wheelchair basketball and sitting volleyball.
“We are excited to welcome our friends from overseas, the British Armed Forces, back for a second year of Warrior Games competition,”said Charlie Huebner, chief of Paralympics, USOC. “Our relationship with Help for Heroes that started with the sharing of best practices has grown into a true partnership that has led to the creation of more sport programs and support for our service members and veterans with physical disabilities.”
We would like to thank our supporters Under Armour, who have provided the team’s kit for a heavily discounted rate and Fisher House Foundation who have helped fund the teams flights through their Hero Miles scheme.
1st May 2013
Rugby Stars Open Huxley Golf All-Weather Facility at Help for Heroes Recovery Centre
Rugby stars from all over Britain travelled specially to Tedworth House this week to open the new Huxley Golf all-weather green and practice facility donated to the Recovery Centre.
After a welcome from Bryn, Jason Leonard, the world’s most capped International Rugby Union forward, cut the ribbon to open the superb new golf facility. The 9 hole 2250 sq ft (209 sq m) Huxley putting green complete with fringe surround and adjacent double bay practice net was donated by Rugby’s Golf Club in partnership with Huxley Golf. Scotland International and BBC Rugby commentator Ian “Robbo” Robertson and former England Rugby Head Coach Brian Ashton were among many Rugby stars present, all of whom love golf and enjoy raising money for our wounded through Rugby’s Golf Club, the charity set up specially for this purpose by former Rugby player Tony Richards.
Bryn said: “This superb new golf facility provided by Rugby’s Golf Club and Huxley Golf will be much used and greatly appreciated by all our residents at Tedworth House. Together with our existing “state of the art” gym, sports and indoor ski areas, this will help us to provide the most advanced sporting and recreation facilities available. These play a vital role in providing relaxation and enjoyment, boosting confidence and personal independence, raising morale and developing camaraderie with colleagues. All this helps residents adapt to their new life.”
Jason Leonard spoke on behalf of Rugby's Golf Club: “We and Huxley Golf are delighted to provide this new golf facility for such a worthy cause as Help for Heroes. We are all proud of our men and women in the Armed Forces and we want to do all we can to help those who have been wounded or injured serving their country."
Help for Heroes are extremely grateful to both Rugby's Golf Club and Huxley Golf for their incredible donation and we look forward to watching it be enjoyed by residents at Tedworth House for many years to come.
1st May 2013
Your last chance to sign up for Hero Ride
Friday 3 May is your last chance to join the Hero Ride and show your support for our heroes. If you have not already joined, do not miss out on the opportunity to be part of something special and sign up today!
On Sunday 2 June 2013, we're asking cyclists from all corners of the country to meet us in Blackheath. Together, led by over 100 wounded Servicemen, women and veterans, we will cycle into central London. With your help, this will be the biggest national cycling demonstration of support for the wounded this country has ever seen.
Join a whole host of people who are already showing their support: from ordinary, decent members of the British Public to our inspirational wounded and celebrities like Jeremy Clarkson, Mark Cavendish and Peta Todd!
Help for Heroes Patron Jeremy Clarkson said:
“I’d like to encourage as many of the great British public as possible to take to their bikes and fundraise in what will be a brilliant day to raise money and also celebrate our heroes.”
Get your friends, family and colleagues together, sign up on the website, dig out the Lycra, raise all the money you can and join us for our biggest event this year.
See you there!